From today's online Guardian:
"Play time is over, but did it ever begin? If these students have the kind of parents featured in the Financial Times last month, perhaps not. The article marked a new form of employment: the nursery consultant. These people, who charge from £290 an hour, must find a nursery that will put their clients’ toddlers on the right track to an elite university."
It made me think of the world of children that existed in the 1950s, when it seems us kids tottered out of the house as soon as our little legs would carry us and joined up with groups of our peers out in the streets and fields. I think our parents main aspiration was to get a little peace, and time to get on with the chores. The fathers worked, 9 to 5 and Saturdays, and mothers worked at home. They shopped and cooked every day. And the washing, mangling, drying and ironing was non-stop. As was the cleaning. My Northern hometown was Steel City in those days, and the stone houses were black with the soot from the furnaces. When, years later they began to clean them, I was surprised by the lovely colours of the stone. My mother made our clothes too, as many mothers did back then.
Of course, it wasn't Paradise, far from it. But it is certainly a vanished world.